Dear parents in the Santa Barbara Unified School District:
We are deeply troubled to hear Friday morning about a shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. Sadly, the number of those who lost their lives has increased throughout the morning at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. At this time, there are accounts of more than 20 dead, many of whom are elementary-age students. The shooter is also reported to be dead.
This is a stark reminder of the importance of our safety procedures and our check-in and screening processes for all visitors to campuses. While there is no indication that this is anything but an isolated incident in a state far from California, we do want to take this opportunity to remind all of our families that we conduct regular drills, including those for a building lockdown.
It is imperative that you assist us as parents in following our front-office procedures when arriving on campus. Use front entrances only when visiting your child’s school and check into the office immediately upon arrival; don’t forget also to let us know when you are leaving.
We require media, vendors and delivery drivers to check in as well. Minor exits and entrances are locked throughout the day and should not be propped open by staff or parents for any reason. These are just a few of the procedures we must enforce to help ensure we know who is on campus at all times.
Certainly in this day and age we can never be absolutely protected against all circumstances, but we do train our staff and rely on our parents to helps us ensure we enforce our own procedures. We also conduct safety drills and debriefings with local first responders regularly.
Consider Santa Barbara Unified School District in a precautionary and reflective mode regarding our own buildings, students and staff safety. Please continue to help us by being our eyes and ears on campus and reporting any safety concerns you notice.
As the parent of an elementary-age school child, I am deeply saddened by the story unfolding. Please keep the families of those involved in this terrible situation in your prayers. We will learn more details in the hours and days ahead, and will discuss and debrief with administrators and staff accordingly.
Dave Cash, superintendent
Santa Barbara Unified School District